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Airport naming mission rebuffed


Estelle Griepink

Dr David Warren, inventor of the black box flight recorder.

Dr David Warren, inventor of the black box flight recorder. Photo: John Woudstra

Canberra Airport has recognised an 11-year-old girl's mission to change the name of the airport to honour black box inventor David Warren, but ultimately rejected her request.

Sydney schoolgirl Eve Cogan set up a blog, YouTube channel, Facebook page and Twitter account to garner support to name the airport after the late Australian. She collected more than 3000 signatures on a petition on

Eve became passionate about the inventor of the black box after doing a school assignment on him.

Stephen Byron.

Stephen Byron. Photo: Lyn Mills

"Every year the year 5s and 6s have to do a project on a famous Australian and my dad told me about a lot of sports heroes I could research," she said.

''He also said he thought the inventor of the black box was Australian but he wasn't sure. I thought it was strange that people wouldn't know that."

Eve gained support from famous aviation figures, including Captain Chesley ''Sully'' Sullenberger, who landed a plane on the Hudson River in New York, and had been interviewed by local and international media.

A black box flight recorder, invented by David Warren.

A black box flight recorder, invented by David Warren.

However the airport's managing director, Stephen Byron, has politely brought her mission to an end.

"I just rang her up, and I was very pleased to speak with her," Mr Byron said.

"She was very polite and indicated that she very much understood all my reasons.

"But the reality is that Canberra Airport is the right name for Canberra Airport."

Mr Byron told Eve one of the reasons he did not want to rename the airport was because David Warren was associated with plane crashes, which could discourage passengers from flying.

Eve's father, Adam, said he had ''no clue'' her passion for David Warren would reach such heights.

"She's a very determined kid. She's the school captain … she plugs away on this petition," he said.

Though Mr Byron was firm Canberra Airport would not be renamed, Eve remains hopeful management will change its mind.

"I know when David Warren was trying to sell his idea to the government he got rejected lots of times, and I've only been rejected once so I'm going to keep on pushing," she said.

Mr Byron said he would call Eve in the weeks to come to discuss other ways in which to honour the black box inventor.

He is planning to speak to Qantas, Virgin and Melbourne and Sydney airports' CEOs about naming an aircraft after Mr Warren.


  • QANTAS Airbus A380-800 VH-OQI is named for David Warren.

    Date and time
    February 05, 2013, 11:21AM
    • Why is a Sydney schoolgirl wanting to rename Canberra's airport? How about naming Sydney's second airport after David Warren?

      Iranian Space Monkey
      Date and time
      February 05, 2013, 12:50PM
      • Exactly! She's not from Canberra and neither was Dr Warren. Go bother someone else! Canberra Airport are made to look like bad guys just because some kid made the news.

        Plus - Warren Airport! No disrespect but Canberra's already an easy target for jokes!

        Date and time
        February 05, 2013, 1:52PM
      • Well Canberra airport is the airport of the capital city, theoretically the most important city of the country. David Warren invented possibly the most important piece of equipment which has made air travel safe-r. A very important invention. Why not Canberra?

        Besides, his home town was Groote Eylandt, hardly the most important or well known place. And the second Sydney airport is already named - Richmond

        Date and time
        February 05, 2013, 2:38PM
    • I am pleased common sense has prevailed.

      Date and time
      February 05, 2013, 5:57PM
      • Hi,
        I am Eve, the girl running the petition and I really didn't want to be a bother. Mr Stephen Byron asked me the same question about why I chose Canberra Airport. Sydney Airport is already named after Kingsford Smith and I thought that since Canberra Airport is getting a new terminal, a new terminal might be mean a fresh start for the airport. Mainly I think David Warren should be a name that all politicians know and remember because they rejected his idea for many years and then he had to go to England and Canada to have it built.
        Even if you don't want to vote for an Australian airport to be named after him, please find out more about him and tell your kids about him.
        Here is my video
        -Eve Cogan

        Eve Cogan (11 years old)
        Sydney, Australia
        Date and time
        February 06, 2013, 8:03AM
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